In Manitowoc, it’s easy to have a whole lot of fun for FREE! With an admission-free museum and an array of outdoor options, there are so many ways to entertain the whole family without breaking the bank. Check out some of our favorite no-cost ways to explore the city below.


1. Visit the Rahr-West Art Museum

Voted one of the best places to see art in a small town by USA Today, the Rahr-West Art Museum truly is a jewel here in Manitowoc. Their permanent collection includes Picasso, Warhol, and O’Keeffe, and they also have rotating exhibits throughout the year. Check out their website for a schedule of their art classes and free family workshops.

two women pointing at a painting in the Rahr-West Art Museum

2. Hit the Beach

Manitowoc is home to four groomed beaches: Red Arrow Beach, Silver Creek Beach, Lighthouse Park Beach, and Lakefront Beach—all of which allow dogs. A favorite is Red Arrow Beach as there’s ample parking, playgrounds, public restrooms, a ball diamond and a tennis court, and it’s within walking distance to two Manitowoc must-visits: Cedar Crest Ice Cream Parlor and Late’s Diner.


3. Take the Public Art Tour

Downtown Manitowoc is now bursting with public art, including murals, sculptures, and even utility boxes that pull inspiration from works in the Rahr-West Art Museum’s permanent collection. Thanks to an online app, it’s very simple to take a self-guided art tour throughout Manitowoc and see as much as you want to!

Ruth Mural

4. Let the Dogs Out

Our furry friends deserve a chance to explore, too, and they are sure to have a ball at the Halverson Dog Park in Manitowoc. This free dog park has two fenced-in areas – one for large dogs and one for small dogs. This area also has a playground for kids and ball diamonds, plus nearby is Sabbatical Brewing, proudly featuring a dog-friendly patio.

dog at Halvorsen Park

5. Explore West of the Lake Gardens

Located right along Lake Michigan, West of the Lake Gardens is a 6.5-acre area of gardens showcasing geraniums, fibrous begonias, over 30,000 tulips, 800 roses and so much more. Lay back with a good book and soak in the sun here for a relaxing afternoon. The gardens are open annually from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

cherub sculpture at West of the Lake Gardens

6. Stroll Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo

Bison, deer, bears… oh, my! The Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo is home to these animals, and many others, including all kinds of birds, farm animals, cougars, reptiles, and more. The zoo also has a playground, education center and many annual events to attend each year. 

women walking on path at Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo

7. Walk to the Lighthouse

One of the most popular free activities loved by both locals and tourists alike is taking a walk out to the Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse. Starting at Lighthouse Park Beach, you can take a walk out past the blue rails and marina to reach the north pier and the lighthouse. Also on the way out to your destination, you'll find Paws and Play Dog Park and a nature preserve that homes seagulls, deer, and pelicans.


8. Bike Mariners Trail

Walk, bike, hike, or roll the scenic Mariners Trail. The trail is mostly flat and paved the whole way, which makes it a great trail for roller blading and biking. There are lush gardens and gorgeous views of Lake Michigan throughout the 7-mile trail.

two bikers on Mariners Trail with eagle sculpture in background

9. Play a Round of Disc Golf

All you need are your discs and a nice day! Head to Silver Creek Park for 36 holes of disc golf, all of which are unique and offer different challenges. From hills to wooded areas and the shores of Lake Michigan, this course has some of the best views and surroundings around! 

Disc Golf net at Silver Creek Park